"Each supply creates its own demand." A well-known law that economist Jean-Baptiste Say entrusted to paper as early as 1803. And now, more than 200 years later, that law is more relevant than ever. A mobile phone or a (portable) computer? At first, we think: we don't need it. But yet, we are sitting behind our laptop with a smartphone, listening to music through our wireless earphones. This development is also visible in the marketing and sales world. Not only does the supply create the market, but the market also determines how the supply and companies act. And it's all because of technology.
Karel Jan Alsem, lecturer Marketing at Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, has been following trends in this sector for over 30 years. He has also written various manuals for marketing and brand positioning. "Digital marketing is the single most important 'kink' in the marketing trend curve of the past decades", he says. "That breaking point extends over a number of years. I am not only talking about the internet (and all the online and digital developments that have emerged from it), but also about the behaviour of consumers and companies. By this, I mean all forms of marketing, from research to strategy and tactics and the implementation thereof by organisations. This in turn results in a higher service level, because you can respond to wishes. Ultimately, it all stems from the digitisation of the behaviour of the other party."
But the digital world of marketing, sales and service nowadays goes much further than purely following interests via cookies, making an order history, offering relevant apps or showing matching advertisements, says Alsem. "Technology is inextricably linked to all traditional Ps (product, price, place and promotion). The interaction with those Ps creates a great flow of useful information. Involve your future, potential customers or B2B partners with your product through online platforms. Determine your price via digital pricing or handy bidding tools. Not only give your product a physical place, but also one online. And promotion depends on Google Analytics, a website optimised for search engines, content strategy or influencer marketing. Your website is your strongest salesperson."
Sales and software
The American technology entrepreneur Scott Brinker publishes the Martech 5000 every year, a list that provides insight into which (and how) companies position themselves within that tech world. Brinker points out in his book Hacking Marketing that marketing and software are inextricably intertwined. "Software has eaten the world, and marketing too. And this is actually a really good thing!" It is important not only to innovate in what is produced in marketing but also how it is produced.
Emiel Kanters of Eindhovense Webs also sees this, which helps companies to excel commercially through technology. "The role of technology in the interplay of supply and demand is increasing. Sales is a different ball game. The human factor is increasingly facilitated by technology. The 'salesperson at the door' gets to know you and plays into that. He becomes, as it were, much more of a service provider. What does the customer actually want? In business development, you no longer push a product into the market, but you try to read what is going on in the market and build your service around it."
So, reversing the trajectory. Learn from successful sales and build your organisation around this behaviour. Marketing becomes more personal, sales more efficient and the service level is higher. Utilise the traces that customers leave to make educated guesses from that position in order to get to know potential customers. After all: sending employees out to convince them that a product is good, is no longer necessary. For that information, we read online reviews and watch videos on YouTube. Through a good CRM system (the name says it all, Customer Relationship Management) you build a relationship with your customer. Let yourself be carried away by the market and use that knowledge to grow!